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Pet dogs reduce stress in kids: Study

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New York, May 12: Pet dogs provide more social support as compared to parents when a child is suffering from stress, study suggests.

“Middle childhood is a time when children’s social support figures are expanding beyond their parents, but their emotional and biological capacities to deal with stress are still maturing,” said Darlene Kertes, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, in the US.

Children who engaged actively with their dogs had lower levels of cortisol, body stress as compared to those who engaged less, Kertes said.

An experiment was conducted on 100 pet-owning families with children between the ages of 7 to 12 years.

Another study, published in the journal Animals, showed that a family dog could help boost physical activity for kids with disabilities.

Researchers found that the family dog can led to improvements such as motor skills, quality of life and emotional, social and physical health.

“These initial findings indicate that we can improve the quality of life for children with disabilities, and we can get them to be more active,” said Megan MacDonald, Assistant Professor at Oregon State University.

“It was so cool to see the relationship between the child and the dog evolve over time. They develop a partnership and the activities become more fun and challenging for the child,” MacDonald added.

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High BP pills can also reduce colorectal cancer risk

“Our results provide new insights on a potential role of these medications for colorectal cancer prevention,” said study author Wai K Leung from the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong, July 6 : Researchers have now claimed that medications commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure may also reduce patients’ colorectal cancer risk.

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-i) or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) medications are prescribed for conditions such as heart failure, high blood pressure or heart disease. These medications inhibit or block angiotensin, a chemical that causes arteries to become narrow, the researchers said.

Doctors commonly prescribe these medications to people with high blood pressure to relax and open blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.

The current study, published in the Hypertension, an American Heart Association journal, revealed that taking these medications may also reduce colorectal cancer risk.

“Our results provide new insights on a potential role of these medications for colorectal cancer prevention,” said study author Wai K Leung from the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong.

“This is the first study to show the potential beneficial effects of ACE inhibitors and ARBs on colorectal cancer development, based on a large group of patients who were colorectal cancer-free at the beginning of the study,” Leung added.

The roles of ACE inhibitors and ARBs on cancer development are controversial and, in some cases, study findings are conflicting. Results of previous studies have been limited by several factors including a small number of patients and data only on short-term follow-ups.

For the present study, the research team reviewed health records of 187,897 adult patients in Hong Kong from 2005 to 2013, with a negative baseline colonoscopy for colorectal cancer. The analysis found that those who took hypertension medications such as ACE-i or ARBs had a 22 per cent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer in the subsequent three years.

The benefits of ACE-i and ARBs were seen in patients 55 or older and those with a history of colon polyps and the benefit associated with the medications were limited to the first three years after the negative baseline colonoscopy.

“While ACE-i and ARBs are taken by patients with high blood pressure, heart failure and kidney diseases, the reduction in colorectal cancer risk may be an additional factor for physicians to consider when choosing anti-hypertensive medications,” Leung said.

Researchers noted that the results should be verified with a prospective randomised controlled study, which would actively follow patients to determine the potential benefits of these medications on colorectal cancer risk.

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Preliminary trial success, Covid vax could be out by Dec: Bangladeshi scientist

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Dhaka : Claiming success in preliminary animal modelling trial of Covid-19 vaccine, Globe Biotech Limited has claimed to be the first company from Bangladesh to have a Covid-19 vaccine under development. It says it is aiming for a December 2020 availability of the vaccine in the market.

They received the result after conducting the preliminary trial on five rabbits from June 10 to June 28, says Dr Asif Mahmud, Assistant Manager and incharge of Research and Development, Globe Biotech Limited, in an exclusive interview to IANS.

Earlier, he led the team to claim success in preliminary trial for the vaccine in national capital Dhaka on Thursday afternoon.

Excerpts from the interview of scientist Dr Asif Mahmud

Q: Globe Biotech is a research company in Bangladesh. Is it a branch of any MNC in the world?

A: No, in fact, Globe Biotech Limited is a Biological Drug Discovery Company in operation in Bangladesh since 2015. The project was started by our CEO Kankon Nag and COO Dr Nazneen Sultana. We have prepared 18 bio similar. We are also working on our own Nobel drug. After completing the animal trials of 6 bio similar, we have applied for Ethical Approval through our PRO at the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) in Dhaka. We have that ability and experience to invent a vaccine against this pandemic. Under the supervision of our CEO and COO, after a Covid-19 patient was reported in Bangladesh on March 8, we shifted our focus to SARS-Cov2 and started 3 new projects. Number one — we will do kit development; number two — we will do vaccine development for the country; and in the last — the biological molecule development.

Q: Is the research by Globe Biotech independent? Or is your research done under the supervision of any other country?

A: Globe Biotech is researching independently. Under the supervision of our CEO and COO, both of whom supervised the team from Canada. They are experienced in this matter. Dr Kankon was directly involved in the HIV vaccine project. He is using that experience here. We are conducting research under their direct supervision. A 12-member scientific group started research on March 18 under the leadership of both.

We have taken some 76 genome sequences under consideration, wherein we found that a sequence (numbered 614) has a mutation point that they have used for amino acid bonding.

Q: Which method did you follow for the research you are undertaking? And how do you make sure it will work to protect people from Covid-19?

A: We went for the SPR method for the tests. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is a phenomenon where electrons in the metal surface layer are excited by photons of incident light with a certain angle of incidence, and then propagated parallel to the metal surface. It is an optical technique utilised for detecting molecular interactions. Actually, we have set a vaccine target. We have analysed the sequences from all the databases we have worldwide, including the sequences in Bangladesh. We set the target by our analysis. We have modified that target according to our needs. We have set multiple targets.

We have placed multiple delivery systems in consideration.

By applying the delivery system we have done an animal trial on rabbits.

By this we have got a very good antibody titer. And those antibodies have shown strong binding affinity with our antigen. We have additional candidates, some of which we have presented to the press. But the company is yet to apply for a patent or any publication; and before the patent is ensured it would not disclose the data received from the trial. We have said that we need to convert the data from the preliminary animal trial into a regulated animal trial. That we will do within the next 6 to 8 weeks. Then we will apply for Ethical Approval.

Q: This 6 to 8 weeks period, to get proof of animal trial? Or, for trial on humans?

A: No, we have already got proof of antibody generation in the preliminary animal trial. Now, it needs to be converted to a regulated animal trial. Because, for human trial, we have to submit it to the regulatory body for Ethical Approval. Regulated trials will require some further characterisation. Then, we will apply for human trials.

Q: Did you inform about your research to the drug administration of the country?

A: Not yet. There is no role of the regulatory body now. When we do a regulated animal trial, of course, we go to the regulatory body.

Q: What are your expectations? When will the vaccine be released?

A: We have already formulated the regulated animal trial guidelines and the tests would be concluded within four to six weeks. Thereafter, the company will seek Ethical Approval from the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) in early September, when the data from the Regulated Animal Trial reaches us within 6 to 7 weeks.

And then, we will apply for market authorisation to the regulatory authority in December within three months after completing the phases 1, 2 and 3. If everything goes smoothly, we expect to be able to bring our vaccine to the market by December.

Q: If you get government support, do you think success for you can be faster or smoother?

A: Obviously! This will be the first discovery of this vaccine in Bangladesh. The first task always comes with more obstacles and hindrances. We will remove the obstacles with the support of the government and will bring the vaccine to the market in due course.

(Sumi Khan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Oats, rye bran may reduce weight gain, hepatic inflammation

The findings suggest that both brans have the capacity to create a favourable environment in the gut by supporting the growth of beneficial microbes.

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London, July 5 : Want to lose some weight? Read on. Researchers have found that the consumption of dietary fibre from oat and rye brans increased the growth of beneficial microbes in the intestines and reduced hepatic inflammation.

In addition, diets enriched with oat or rye bran were shown to attenuate weight gain. The effects of oat and rye were partly different, but both were beneficial for health.

For the study, published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the research team from the University of Eastern Finland, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland collaborated with the University of Hong Kong.

The health benefits of oat, rye and other whole-grain products have been widely studied, and their use has been associated with decreased inflammation and improved glucose, lipid and adipose tissue metabolism in human and animal experimental research.

In addition, they have been linked to a decreased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes. Different dietary fibres are also known to have different health effects.

In the current study, the research team wanted to investigate differences in metabolites produced by gut microbiota and their interactions with host metabolism in response to supplementation with oat and rye bran fibres.

The study was an animal experiment during which mice were fed a high-fat Western diet for 17 weeks. Two groups were fed the same diet enriched with 10 per cent of either oat or rye bran.

Among the various gut microbial metabolites, this study focused on those especially relevant to the development of fatty liver disease, which is often associated with obesity. Thus, microbial metabolites were assessed by measuring cecal short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), ileal and faecal bile acids, and the expression of genes related to tryptophan metabolism.

The findings suggest that both brans have the capacity to create a favourable environment in the gut by supporting the growth of beneficial microbes.

Both bran fibres enhanced the production of SCFAs, leading to improved gut integrity, reduced liver inflammation. “In addition, both oat and rye supplementation were shown to attenuate weight gain associated with a high-fat diet,” the authors noted.

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